Don’t go chasing waterfalls, when you have them and more on the Palm Terrace Walk.
Need to know info
Distance: 6.5km + extra to see the falls
Where: Forrestfield/Lesmurdie, 35 minutes from Perth
Time: 2 hours
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water & sturdy enclosed shoes
Why do this
If you’ve never been to the Lesmurdie Falls, you should. It’s arguably Perth’s best waterfall, and thanks to this year’s wet winter, it’s looking more magnificent than ever.
The only downside to this natural wonder is that its official walk is little more than a quick 2km climb from top to bottom. Sure, it’s a beautiful 2 kilometres with incredible views, but if you’re a keen walker, it’s not enough to get that wonderful ‘I’ve-been-on-a-hike’ feeling you get from a longer walk. Plus, if you head out on the weekend, your two kilometres are shared with the families, tourists and locals vying for the best Instagram shot ( We’ve all been that person.)
Luckily there is a solution – The Palm Terrace Walk.
The trail begins in the Falls carpark located the end of Palm Terrace. It feels wrong, but the trail starts by walking away from the bush, between the four large rocks on the far side of carpark.
Take the left fork and walk until you reach a t-junction, turn left to follow the edge of private property. From here on you’ll need to keep an eye out for beige triangle trail markers. The little triangles are not in the most obvious positions and are often hidden by shrubs or trees. It can be frustrating but think of it as a chance to use your nature adventurer direction skills.
As a general rule, the first half of the trail leads you up a hill towards the escarpment. This stretch of the trail is a constant incline, so be prepared to work up a sweat. Luckily there are excellent views of the falls and coastal plain to take your mind off the climb. Once you reach the top, you’ll skirt along some more private properties and then reach a road. At this point, the little beige triangles almost disappear completely. (Nice one Kalamunda Shire!)
Don’t worry; just follow this road until you reach a carpark. Once you’re here, head down the stairs, past the picnic area and turn right along the brook towards what are known as the cascades. (Alternatively, at this point you can sneak in a quick look of the falls by turning left and then retracing your steps to join the trail again – Choose your own adventure!)
When the water level is high, these cascades make a pretty spot to stop for rest, but if you’re in a rush, cross the bridge, head straight up the hill and turn right to climb the last incline of the walk – at this point you’ll understand why I used this walk as practice for the Inca Trail.
After this last climb, you’ll reach a communications tower and the ruins of an old building. I’m not sure what the purpose of this little building was, but today it’s functioning as a garden bed for grass trees and orchids. From this point of the walk, it’s all downhill, with glorious coastal plain views and hillsides covered in colourful hovea, hibertia, myrtle and coneflowers.
Once you’ve made your way back to Palm Terrace Road, you can take that enticing trail along the creek to the base of the falls. Even if you’re tired from the walk, you’ll want to explore the waterfall, maybe even going as far as climbing up to touch it as it cascades down the granite rock face.
Along with the views, the flexibility is one of my favourite things about the Palm Terrace Walk – you can tailor it to your mood. You can take the full trail. You can cut it short at the halfway mark and head to the waterfall. Or you can even lengthen it with the interconnecting Lewis Road Walk. Even with the dodgy of signage, it’s pretty hard to get too lost, just listen for the thundering sound of the falls and you’ll find yourself heading in the right direction.
So, if you like your waterfalls to come with a few extra kilometres of hill climbs, make sure you check out the Palm Terrace Walk.
Map & Directions
The trail begins in the lower carpark of Lesmurdie Falls National Park, located on Palm Terrace in Forrestfield.
Look for the 4 large gravel boulders which mark the entry of the trail. Take the left fork; and then turn left at the T junction. From here on, look for the beige-ish trail markers.